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Millennials might remember watching them on the old Kids WB! channel (Image via Sportskeeda)

Yu-Gi-Oh!: 10 most memorable villains from the original series

Yu-Gi-Oh! villains have always been fun to watch for their crazed antics.

It goes without saying that Yu-Gi-Oh! doesn't shy away from being ridiculously over-the-top. Card games are a serious business in this universe, where minor and major antagonists chew the scenery on a regular basis. Either way, that's what fans love about the series.


Yu-Gi-Oh! villains are known for their unique playing styles. On and off the battlefield, they can be a major threat to Yugi Mutou and his friends. With that said, this article will mainly cover antagonists from the original Duel Monsters anime. It will not discuss Season 0, which only aired in Japan.

These villains made quite the impression in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series


10) Rafael

Rafael in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Rafael only showed up in the filler Doma arc. However, this powerful duelist made a huge impression on young viewers. What makes him dangerous is that he believes in the "Heart of the Cards," just like a certain Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist.

He gave Yami Yugi a rare loss with his Guardian deck. To say this was shocking is a severe understatement. Rafael took advantage of his need to win high-stakes duels, tricking him into using The Seal of Orichalcos.

Unlike most Yu-Gi-Oh! villains, Rafael is rather sympathetic with his backstory. He was the only survivor of a luxury cruise shipwreck that killed his family.


9) Strings

Strings in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Strings is a very strange character in Yu-Gi-Oh!. His physical features include a bald head and numerous metal piercings.


This Rare Hunter first appeared in the Battle City arc. Many viewers were creeped out by his lack of talking. Yami Marik usually communicates through him via mind control. His playstyle revolves around summoning numerous Slimes, all while increasing the attack of his Slifer god card.

With that said, Yami Yugi found a way to defeat Strings. Using a creative strategy, he forced his opponent to deck out.

8) Rex Raptor


Rex Raptor has never won a single duel in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Regardless, he was skilled enough to show up in the Duelist Kingdom arc. His memorable deck is entirely themed around dinosaurs.

Joey Wheeler had to prove himself against Rex and his Red-Eyes Black Dragon. The hero prevailed with his Time Wizard and ended up taking the villain's boss monster. Red-Eyes Black Dragon would eventually become Joey's signature card.

Rex would later form a comedy duo with Weevil, and they would bring levity to more serious moments in the series.

7) Weevil Underwood


Weevil is a cowardly duelist who prefers to cheat his way to victory. He often relies on underhanded tactics to maintain the advantage. Weevil is best known for his Insect deck, which perfectly exemplifies his personality.

Even before the Duelist Kingdom arc, he knew that he couldn't beat Yugi Mutou's Exodia deck. Weevil not only stole those cards, he also threw them off a cruise ship. Without a doubt, Weevil forever changed the Yu-Gi-Oh! series.

In the end, Yugi Mutou did get his revenge on Weevil after beating him in the first match of the Duelist Kingdom. Weevil is among the earliest duelists to leave the island. Yugi didn't even need Exodia in the first place.

6) Odion


Odion is the older adoptive brother of Marik Ishtar, who is regularly controlled by his darker side. He even pretended to be Yami Marik during the Battle City arc in order to throw off suspicion.

The Rare Hunter was a major threat in the Battle City arc, basing his entire strategy around trap cards. He was so good that he ended up collecting 12 Locator Cards to advance to the finals. Keep in mind that only six are needed. He gave the rest of the cards to Yami Marik.

During the finals, Odion's honorable ways convinced Joey Wheeler that he wasn't really Yami Marik. His powerful trap cards still gave the hero a run for his money.

5) Bandit Keith


Using the term "honorable duelist" would be incorrect on so many levels. Bandit Keith is a loud-mouthed American who loves to cheat. For example, he often hides useful cards in his metal wristbands.

During the Duelist Kingdom arc, he would overpower his opponents with a Machine themed deck. Of course, Joey Wheeler's luck allowed him to prevail against Bandit Keith. The sore loser didn't accept his loss and even pulled a gun on Pegasus, who sent him through a trap door.

Bandit Keith is everything a duelist shouldn't be in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but that's what makes him memorable. He is a dangerous villain who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.

4) Yami Marik


Yami Marik is the dark alter ego of Marik Ishtar. This Yu-Gi-Oh! villain entered the Battle City arc with Egyptian God cards, specifically the Winged Dragon of Ra. He could also control minds with the Millennium Rod. Viewers will likely remember his constant nightmare faces and evil laugh.

Yugi and his friends had to go through several goons before they got to Yami Marik in the finals. The sadistic personality loved to watch his opponents squirm with his Torture deck. Yami Marik would also rely on Shadow Duels to gain a psychological advantage.

Eventually, the alter ego was destroyed by Marik Ishtar right after he lost a climactic duel against Yami Yugi.

3) Yami Bakura


Yami Bakura is the darker alter ego of Bakura Ryou. He is the most recurring villain in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series, having been there from beginning to end.

The villain can find whatever he seeks with the Millennium Ring. Yami Bakura ultimately wanted the shadowy power of Zorc the Dark One. His dueling playstyle is dark and demented, just like his personality. During the Battle City arc, he ran a dangerous Occult deck.

Yami Bakura is truly a snake in human form. He actively deceived his friends in order to obtain more power.

2) Maximillion Pegasus


This was the first major antagonist of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Pegasus created Duel Monsters in the first place. He also ran the Duelist Kingdom in hopes of finding Millennium Items to revive his former lover.

Pegasus stood out for his flamboyant style, elegant fashion sense, and snarky remarks. He also used a completely broken Toon Deck. Even worse, he could read minds with the powerful Millennium Eye. Pegasus was truly a difficult obstacle to overcome in the Duelist Kingdom.

In the end, Yugi Mutou teamed up with his alter ego to defeat Pegasus. This was a hard-fought duel that lasted for several episodes in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. Of course, it was the power of friendship that prevailed.

1) Seto Kaiba


The Yu-Gi-Oh! series wouldn't be the same without Seto Kaiba. He is a skilled duelist known for his savage insults. Kaiba is also a highly competitive individual with his Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards.

He was originally meant to be a one-time villain from the manga. Of course, his explosive popularity ensured his stay. Fans loved his cold demeanor and willingness to win by any means necessary.

Kaiba started off villainous, although he would later become anti-heroic. His fierce rivalry with Yami Yugi is also what defines the series. Throughout the entire show, Kaiba would be a persistent thorn in his side.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.

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Edited by
R. Elahi
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