21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a popular anime series that has had a big impact on this age.

Even with new versions of the series, there’s a good reason why the anime has been popular for so long.

The YGO anime is not only one of the best ways to teach people how to play the card game, but it also has some pretty crazy fights.

Many of us grew up watching this anime, whether it was the first one with Yugi, the one with Jaden at Duel Academy, 5D, or Zexal.

So as a way to honor my duelist friends, I’m going to rank some of the best characters in the show.

Keep in mind that most of these ratings are based on how I feel about each Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters. You might not agree, but at the end of the day, we’re all Yu-Gi-Oh! fans.

Friendly note: I’m mostly focused on characters from the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, but I’ve added some great characters from the sequels as well.

21. Yuma Tsukumo

Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters

Yuma, the main character of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, was just an average duelist who liked to take risks. He didn’t start to become one of the best duelists until he met Astral, an alien looking for Number Monsters.

His Onomato deck works by letting him call out monsters that he can use in his XYZ plays. During his series, the XYZ calls were added to the game.

This is a way to use monsters of the same level to summon a special monster. His ace monster, number 39, which is called “Utopia,” is still a good card that is still used.

Fans liked XYZ calls right away, and Yuma’s plans for his number and Onomato monsters were sure to make the show fun to watch.

Yuma went from being a child who was careless to a great duelist who could beat even his partner. He is still one of the most popular main characters in YuGiOh.

20. Mai Valentine

Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters

Mai was possibly the first woman we saw in Yu-Gi-Oh who was a good duelist.

The first anime was way too focused on men. Even though I hate the “woke” movement very much, it was cool to see a female figure who could beat someone up in a fight.

Mai is also on my list because I remember having trouble with her deck in Yu-Gi-Oh 7: Trials to Glory, back when the game was very popular around 2005.

I respect her as a duelist because she has more than once given me food in bed.

19. Dartz

19 dartz yu gi oh anime screenshot 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Man, the bad guys in the first Yu-Gi-Oh anime were so cool.

Dartz was one of the best, in my opinion.

In fact, I think Dartz is one of the best bad guys in any Duel Monsters show.

His story was out of this world!

18. Duke Devlin

18 duke devlin yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Duke was one of the characters who didn’t really add much to the story as a whole.

But he is still a great figure because he made the game Dungeon Dice Monsters, which was a strange mix of D&D and Duel Monsters.

And pretty cool when you think about it.

Also, do you remember when Duke Devlin hit Joey and made him dress up as a dog?

Ah, fun times.

17. Mokuba Kaiba

17 mokuba kaiba yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Mokuba isn’t as good of a figure on his own.

But Seto is the only character in the story who cares about him, which makes sense since he is his brother.

Throughout the series, the Kaiba family was formed by how Seto and Mokuba got along with each other.

So that’s the only reason he’s on my list.

I know that a lot of you liked Mokuba for other reasons, but I never really liked him unless he was with Seto.

16. Ishizu Ishtar

16 ishizu ishtar yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Ishizu was Marik’s sister.

She was the one who used the Millennium Necklace, and she was one of the anime’s more mysterious characters.

She was not as good at fighting as her brother.

But the fact that she stopped his plants and kept the family from being betrayed was enough to make her stand out.

15. Rafael

15 rafael yu gi oh anime screenshot 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

If you remember the fights in the first Yu-Gi-Oh anime against the Doma Swordsmen, you probably remember Rafael, even if his name doesn’t come to mind right away.

You know that guy, the best of the Doma Swordsmen, who never lost his soul even when he lost?


So, you’re thinking of Rafael, who was a badass.

14. Yuya Sakaki

14 yuya sakaki yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Yuya has a very good spot on my list because he is so good at Pendulum summons.

He also has a very calm and mild nature, which also helps him.

And some of the best cards any Yu-Gi-Oh main character has.

13. Rebecca Hawkins

13 rebecca hawkins yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

I have to say that Rebecca was always one of my favorite Yu-Gi-Oh characters to come out of filler stories.

She was a very skilled duelist who became a Duel Monsters winner at a very young age.

Her appearance on the show shows why she was so good at what she did.

In the anime, she is only 12 years old, which makes her one of the youngest famous duelists of her time.

12. Zane Truesdale

12 zane truesdale yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Ah, Zane.

One of the best characters in GX, and one of only three people to ever win a fight against Jaden Yuki.

His great deck of mechanical dragons was enough to make me want those cards when I was a teenager, and I still hope to get them someday.

The deck never made it to my home country, so that never happened. But Zane is still one of the best Yu-Gi-Oh figures I’ve ever seen.

Also, do you all remember how he was brought back to life with no explanation? It was funny, wasn’t it?

11. Alexis Rhodes

11 alexis rhodes yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

On my list, Alexis is a must-have. She is the one anime character that every kid loved, and in GX, she is one of the best duelists at the school.

She lived in Obelisk Blue, and she was one of the best duelists of her time.

She may not have been as interesting as some of the other characters in the series.

But she let Jaden and other characters with a lot of hormones have a lot of funny interactions with her.

Her skills as a duelist, on the other hand, were unmatched, and the only thing that could match them were her intellectual skills.

10. Noah Kaiba

10 noah kaiba yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Noah was the only child Seto Kaiba’s father had by birth. And boy, was he a masterpiece!

The little guy was a good duelist and a jerk at the same time, but he really knew how to handle himself in a fight arena.

Also, one of the most memorable parts of the original show was when Yugi used Seto’s cards to beat Noah himself.

I think everyone who watched the Battle City arc will remember that scene with a smile.

9. Yusei Fudo

09 yusei fudo yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

I know that many of you who read this will kill me for making Yusei’s situation worse than Jaden’s… But, as I said at the start of the article, this is just my view.

And it’s too bad that I didn’t like 5D as much as I did GX. Sue me.

Any way you look at it, Yusei earns a spot on my list because he has a great personality and can beat almost anyone who stands in his way.

His deck was very good, and it really showed how powerful Synchro can be.

A great person and one of the best main characters in the series, no question.

8. Joey Wheeler

08 joey wheeler yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Joey Wheeler’s charm has charm of its own.

But I think the reason we love him most is that he always wants to get better. When the series began, he wasn’t a very good duelist, if you ask me. But he grew up to be a great partner for Yugi.

Also, let’s all be happy that the Red-Eyes Black Dragon is the reason we remember Joey more than any other character in the series.

It’s clear that the people who made the anime liked dragon cards, but this amazing creature was the one we all wanted in our decks as kids.

7. Mako Tsunami

07 mako tsunami yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Mako was such a cool guy from the start.

In the original anime, his fight with Joey and the debut of the Legendary Fisherman were two of the most important parts.

Just because of who he is, I think he is one of the coolest Yu-Gi-Oh figures. But it’s safe to say that many people loved his ocean-themed deck when we were all kids.

Do you remember that fight where he used his Legendary Fisherman card and the Atlantis field card? Chills.

6. Marik

06 marik yu gi oh anime screenshot 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Marik is one of those figures that you could love whether he was himself or Yami Marik. The character was great in both forms.

But it’s safe to say that Yami’s version was from another planet.

Many kids’ childhoods were made by the battles they had with the Egyptian God cards.

They then asked their parents to buy them (Slyfer, Obelisk, and Ra were very expensive back then, if I may say so myself).

Marik is a great character in the original series, no matter what. And one of the best bad guys ever to appear in the Yu-Gi-Oh series.

5. Pegasus

05 pegasus yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Even though Pegasus cheated most of the time, he was one of the best duelists in the world.

And his storyline in the first season was amazing.

I can also tell you everything you need to know about his deck, which I have always thought was one of the coolest in the series.

When we didn’t even have XYZ cards, Relinquished was such an interesting card to have.

And most of the Fusions we could use were ones we saw in the anime, like the Red-Eyes Meteor Dragon or the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon.

Plus, his toon monsters were very new back then.

4. Yami Bakura

04 yami bakura yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Man, making this list made me remember how much I liked this guy when I was a kid.

I thought he looked so cool and tough. And now, after about 20 years, I still feel the same way.

The guy had one of the scariest personalities that you’d love to see in any figure.

But the Millenium Staff made him look like an even bigger badass.

That is, of course, when he’s Yami Bakura.

Regular Bakura was about as dull as it gets. But hey, let’s focus on his dark side, which is kind of his better side.

3. Jaden Yuki

03 jaden yuki yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

I know that Jaden wasn’t a figure that many people liked.

But I still think that, after Yugi/Atem, he is the second-best main character in a Yu-Gi-Oh show.

The way he interacted with his friends was great. Let’s be honest: his deck was something else.

The fusions, the Elemental Heroes, and the way he fights all show that Jaden Yuki has the heart and soul of a true duelist.

He was one of the new guys at the start of the show because he lived in the Slyfer Red Dorm. But he ended up being one of the most important people at his school.

Many people are also moved by how Jaden acts. And I thought he was a much more interesting figure than Yugi himself, at least when he wasn’t Yami.

2. Yami Yugi / Atem

02 yami yugi atem yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

When you hear the words “Yu-Gi-Oh,” it’s only reasonable to think of Yugi right away.

He’s the first main character and one of the most remembered people from our childhoods, especially if you were like me and loved playing this great card game, even though you were probably as bad at it as I was.

At the end of the whole anime story, we find out more about Yami. If you’ve seen the whole series, you know why I’m also calling him Atem.

The way Yugi and Atem talk to each other is great. His interesting character makes the anime more balanced, but Atem himself is the best character, besides Kaiba.

1. Seto Kaiba

01 seto kaiba yu gi oh anime 21 Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Characters (And Duelists)

Is there any figure that stands out more than Kaiba?

His love-hate relationship with Yugi was likely one of the anime bonds that shaped many people’s childhoods.

Besides that, Seto was a total badass. Also, he was one of the Yu-Gi-Oh figures who cared most about his family, even though he seemed to love money more than anything else (but did he really?).

To add to that, Kaiba was also the person who rocked the famous Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Back in the day, this card was pretty much a famous one that everyone wanted.

In fact, the BEWD is such a famous card that it is still the focus of newer decks.

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About the Author

Anukul Saini

Anime and gaming enthusiast with a passion for sharing my knowledge and insights. I've watched over 1000 anime and spent countless hours playing video games.

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