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Card Trivia:The Winged Dragon of Ra

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Egyptian History

  • Ra ( and later Amun-Ra; reconstructed as *ri:ʕu) is the ancient Egyptian sun god. He was the major deity in ancient Egyptian religion by the fifth dynasty. Identified primarily with the mid-day sun, the chief cult centre of Ra first was based in Heliopolis (ancient Inunu), meaning, "City of the Sun".
  • In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was subsumed into the god Horus, as Re-Horakhty (and many variant spellings). He commanded sky, earth, and underworld.
  • The color gold in Ancient Egypt represented divinity and becoming a god. In a myth, Ra, as a man, had golden-colored skin and lapis lazuli-colored hair. This is practically equivalent with the golden metal scales and the blue gem on his head in the card image.
  • According to E. A. Wallis Budge, he was the one god of Egyptian monotheism, of which all other deities were aspects, manifestations, phases, or forms of this deity. Ra itself, however, was also a monotheistic god. A Hymn to Ra (c. 1370s BC) was written to stress the pantheistic nature of Ra to combat encroaching polytheism. In it, several deities are described, not as beings in their own right, but certain forms of Ra. For example:
"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, thou exalted Power, who dost enter into the habitations of Ament, behold [thy] body is Atum."
"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, thou exalted Power, who dost enter into the hidden palace of Anubis, behold [thy] body is Khepera."
  • The Bennu bird (the Egyptian correspondence to the phoenix) is Ra's ba (soul) and a symbol of fire and rebirth. The sun disk, also shown as the hieroglyphic ⊙ ; Ankh, symbolizing the life given by the sun; Obelisk, representative of the rays of the sun and worshiped as a home of a solar god; Pyramids, aligned east/west Falcon; Bull; Uraeus, a cobra commonly seen wrapped around the sun disk. As the sun, Ra was thought to see everything.
  • As Atum, Ra was believed to have fathered Shu and Tefnut, who in turn bore Geb, Nut. These in turn were the parents of Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys, and Horus the Elder [Uncle of Horus]. All nine (except Horus the Elder) made up the Heliopolitan Ennead.

Hieratic Text

  • According to the Japanese version of the anime and manga, the Hieratic Text printed on the card records the following three groups of Ra's abilities (quoted from Seto Kaiba's own translation of the Text in Duel 248 of the Japanese manga):


When (roughly) translated to English, it reads:
(1st ability) "Ra shall acquire the power of three tributes. However, only those who offer the ancient incantation to heaven shall God follow."
(2nd ability) "God shall revive from earth. By offering the Ritual of Revival and his own life, one shall be united with God, and all enemies on the battlefield shall be incinerated."
(3rd ability) "In an instant, God shall become a Phoenix, and all evil spirits chosen by it shall repose on earth."
In the English version of Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, though, the Hieratic Text appears to have a different meaning. This can be seen when Marik recited the Text while gaining control of Ra during his duel with Mai Valentine in episode 92:
"Great beast of the sky, please hear my cry.
Transform thyself from orb of light and bring me victory in this fight.
Envelop the desert with your glow and cast your rage upon my foe.
Unlock your powers deep within so that together we may win.
Appear in this Shadow Game as I call your name,
Winged Dragon of Ra!"
Note that in the English version of Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, when Yami Marik attempted to gain control of Ra in his duel with Mai, the viewer can hear him speaking understandable words. However, in the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and manga, what he recited was the Hieratic Text itself (in the anime, Marik recites some unknown words; in the manga, his speech bubbles are filled with Hieratic Text). In the English episode 221 when Atem Summoned Ra, he uses the chant but it is changed (the Japanese version uses the incomprehensible Hieratic). Here is this chant:
"Almighty protector of the sun and sky, I beg of thee, please heed my cry.
Transform thyself from orb of light and bring me victory in this fight.
I beseech thee, grace our humble game.
But first I shall...call out thy name,
Winged Dragon of Ra!"

Anime Effect

Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime:

When summoned by tributing three monsters, Ra's attack and defense points become the combined attack and defense points of the tributed monsters. Ra also has several additional powers; Marik can pay a number of life points to increase Ra's attack and defense points by the same amount and by tributing monsters the player controls to further increase its ATK and DEF points, The Winged Dragon of Ra's other effect is to turn into a Phoenix by paying 1000 life points. This "Phoenix" mode gave Ra immunity to destruction and the ability to instantly destroy everything on the opponent's side of the field. 'Phoenix mode' only lasts until the end of the turn it is activated in.

  • Further research compiled from both what has been stated in the Anime/Manga and video games has yielded what is placed below as the determined powers Ra possesses in his entirety.

The Winged Dragon of Ra
Level 10/DIVINE/Divine-Beast/ATK????/DEF????
This card cannot be Set. This card can only be Tribute Summoned by Tributing 3 monsters. The Normal Summon of this card cannot be negated. When this card is Normal Summoned, Spells, Traps and other monsters' effects cannot be activated. While this card is on the field, control of this card cannot switch and it is unaffected by the effects of Spell Cards, Trap Cards and other monsters. The effect of “The Winged Dragon of Ra” only affects this card for one turn. When this card is Special Summoned from the Graveyard, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. This card can always attack during the turn it is Summoned. This card’s ATK and DEF are equal to the combined ATK and DEF of the monsters Tributed to Summon it, respectively. Once per turn, you may pay 1000 Life Points to destroy all monsters your opponent controls. You can Tribute monsters in order to increase this card’s ATK by the Tributed monsters’ ATK. You can pay any amount of Life Points in order to increase this card’s ATK by the amount of Life Points paid. If you use this effect, you can send one "De-Fusion" in your Hand or under your control to the Graveyard in order to reduce this card’s ATK to 0 and increase your Life Points by this card’s prior ATK. You can activate this effect at any time. During either player’s turn, you can pay 1000 Life Points to transform "The Winged Dragon of Ra" into its Phoenix Mode. Until the end of the turn this effect is activated, the ATK and DEF of this card are reduced to 0 (The ATK and DEF of this card return to their respective values prior to this effect‘s use) and it gains the following effects: ● This card cannot be destroyed by battle, and you take no Battle Damage from battles involving this card. ● This card cannot be targeted and is unaffected by the effects of other monsters, Spells, and Traps. The effect of “The Winged Dragon of Ra” only affects this card for one turn.

The Winged Dragon of Ra
DIVINE/Divine Beast/10/?/?
You must offer 3 Tributes to Special Summon this card. The ATK and DEF of this card becomes the sum of the respective ATK and DEF values of the Tributes. When this card is Special Summoned from the Graveyard, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. While this card is face-up on the field, it cannot be targeted by Spells, Traps, or monsters that designate a target. When this card is face up on the field, you can activate the following effects:

  • Pay 1000 Life Points, select one monster on the Field and remove it from the game, this card cannot be destroyed until the end phase.
  • Pay all but 1 Life Point, and increase ATK and DEF by the amount of Life Points paid.
  • You can Tribute 1 or more monsters on your side of the field to increase the ATK and DEF of this card equal to the ATK of the tribute(s).

Videogame Effects

One of the three Egyptian God cards, The Winged Dragon of Ra is unusual in that its flavor text is printed as its "effect". Despite this obstacle, however, effects have been given to it in its videogame appearances.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards and Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction:

The Winged Dragon of Ra
DIVINE/Machine/12/4000/4000
A dragon that has the power to cut its LP to 1 and hit the opponent with the LP amount that it has lost. (Requires three tributes.)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime:

When summoned by tributing three monsters, Ra's attack and defense points become the combined attack and defense points of the tributed monsters.[8] Ra also has several additional powers; its owner can pay a number of life points to increase Ra's attack and defense points by the same amount and by tributing monsters the player controls to further increase its ATK and DEF points,[10] The Winged Dragon of Ra's other effect is to turn into a Phoenix by paying 1000 life points. This "Phoenix" mode gave Ra immunity to destruction and the ability to instantly destroy everything on the opponent's side of the field. Unless the owner keeps paying the additional 1000 during each of his/her following turns, 'Phoenix mode' only lasts until the end of the turn it is activated in.

The Winged Dragon of Ra
DIVINE/Divine Beast/10/?/?
You must offer 3 Tributes to Special Summon this card. The ATK and DEF of this card becomes the sum of the respective ATK and DEF values of the Tributes. When this card is Special Summoned from the graveyard, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. While this card is face-up on the field, it cannot be targeted by Spells, Traps, or Monsters that designate a target. When this card is successfully summoned, you may activate one of the following effects:

  • Pay 1000 Life Points, select one monster on the Field and remove it from the game, this card cannot be destroy until the end phase.
  • Pay all but 1 Life Points, and increase ATK and DEF by the amount of Life Points paid.
  • you can tribute 1 or more monsters on your side of the field to increase the ATK and DEF of this card equal to the ATK of the tribute(s).

Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour:

The Winged Dragon of Ra
DIVINE/Divine Beast/10/????/????
You must offer 3 Tributes to Tribute Summon this card. The ATK and DEF of this card becomes the sum of the respective ATK and DEF values of the Tributes. When this card is Special Summoned, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. While this card is face-up on the field, it cannot be targeted by Spells, Traps, or Monsters that designate a target. When this card is successfully Special Summoned, you may activate one of the following effects:

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 2 and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 3:

The Winged Dragon of Ra
DIVINE/Divine Beast/10/?/?
You must offer 3 Tributes to Tribute Summon this card. The ATK and DEF of this card becomes the sum of the respective ATK and DEF values of the Tributes. When this card is Special Summoned, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. While this card is face-up on the field, it cannot be targeted by Spells, Traps, or Monsters that designate a target. When this card is successfully Special Summoned, you may activate one of the following effects:

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2009: Stardust Accelerator:

The Winged Dragon of Ra
DIVINE/Divine Beast/10/?/?
You must offer 3 Tributes to Tribute Summon this card. The ATK and DEF of this card becomes the sum of the respective ATK and DEF values of the Tributes. When this card is Special Summoned, it is sent to the Graveyard during the End Phase. While this card is face-up on the field, it cannot be targeted by Spells, Traps, or Monsters that designate a target. When this card is successfully Special Summoned, you may activate one of the following effects:

Misc.

  • Each Duel this card was Summoned in the Battle City arcs (and each time in the manga), a new effect of this card was revealed.
    • When Odion Summoned the counterfeit copy, he revealed that "Ra" took on the attack points of the monsters that were Tributed to Tribute Summon it.
    • When Mai Summoned it against Yami Marik, having taken it with the effect of "Amazoness Chain Master," the effect stated to be "the first power of Ra" was revealed: "God himself will serve the player to utters the ancient text." This referred to the Hieratic Text that only appeared when "Ra" was Summoned, which had to be spoken aloud to control the card. As Mai was unable to, Yami Marik did so, and he gained control of "Ra," transforming it from Sphere Mode to Battle Mode.
    • When Yami Marik used it against Yami Bakura, "Ra's" second power was revealed: When Special Summoned from the Graveyard, it could attack instantly, and also allowed the player to pay Life Points to increase its ATK; the "Point-to-Point Transfer" (or "One-Turn Kill" in the Japanese and manga) which also allowed it to attack all the monsters on the field before attacking the opponent themselves.
    • When Yami Marik used it against Joey Wheeler, the third power of "Ra," the Phoenix Mode/Final Form was revealed, also capable of attacking instantly.
    • Each turn "Ra" was Summoned against Yami Yugi, it revealed a different effect/part of a previous effect. The first time, it revealed that the Phoenix Mode of "Ra" was immune to destruction, could attack in the opponent's turn, and the attack could destroy another God card. The second time, Yami Marik revealed that he could sacrifice monsters to increase the ATK of "Ra" by the sacrificed monster's ATK. The third time, in the manga only, it was revealed that even in Battle Mode, "Ra" was immune to the effects of Gods that were lower in rank. This Divine Hierachy would later be expanded upon in Yu-Gi-Oh! R.
  • Until it was gained control of by Yami Marik, the Battle Mode of "Ra" was always obscured in some manner, most notably when it was Summoned by Odion (possibly due to the card being a fake.)
  • UDE representatives used a copy of "The Winged Dragon of Ra" which had a different image and the Hieratic text in the place of the flavor text.
  • Many fake cards of "Ra" exist, with alternate arts rarely or even never seen anywhere else. "Ra" is the only card that has such distinction.
  • In the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, this card, and the other "Egyptian God" Cards are in English, while still using their Japanese names.
  • In the manga, anime, and several video games, "The Winged Dragon of Ra" depended on being Special Summoned from the Graveyard to activate certain effects. The OCG/TCG legal version of "The Winged Dragon of Ra", however, cannot be Special Summoned.
  • The legal OCG/TCG version of "Ra" is arguably the strongest and the weakest "Egyptian God" due to its own effect. If you do pay LP when you Normal Summoned it, it can have a very high ATK & DEF, especially if you managed to Summon it early in the duel, at the cost of you having only 100 LP left. However, if you choose not to, just so you can have enough LP to pay for its destruction effect, then it will just have 0 ATK and DEF.
  • The legal version of "Ra" looks very different from its original version. It is gold-colored instead of the dull yellow from the old version; it has 4 claws instead of 3 on the original; it has the shoulder pads and arch that the anime features while the original did not; it has a feather tail instead of a long lizard-like one (this is actually different from the anime); it appears to have an eagle-like beak without any teeth (as featured in the Season 5 Opening and in the manga version of the Millennium World arc, but not in any episode of the anime).
    • However, with the latest errata, this was no longer true.
  • The effects of the legal "Ra" differ slightly from its original counterpart: The original was not affected by any effect regardless of the current turn, and most notably was not unable to be Special Summoned.
  • Apart from "Backs to the Wall", this card is also the only card to have the cost of "pay Life Points until you have 100 left".
    • If it was Monster-type only, then this card is only monster to have that line.
  • Marik Ishtar stated in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga (Issue 24 of the Duelist Arc) that the "Winged Dragon of Ra" was the most powerful of the 3 "Gods", even being considered in another class between the 3 "Gods".
  • "Ra" has the most artworks of the three Egyptian Gods (Sphere Mode, Battle Mode, Phoenix Mode, and Ra's Tablet)
  • Each of the legal "God" cards seem to be more "focused" on a certain play style:
    • "Obelisk" is offensive, using its massive, fixed ATK & DEF combined with its targeting immunity to crush everything and overwhelm the opponent.
    • "Slifer" is defensive, using its effects to weaken and destroy summoned monsters to compensate for its fluctuating ATK & DEF
    • "Ra" is OTK based, using its effect to turbo-charge his ATK to enormous levels, and fry the opponent in one all-or-nothing shot. Alternatively, using his destruction effect can pave the way for other monsters to do so.
  • The Effect Monster version of this card is one of the few cards with the early printed in the game that does not have an 8-digit input code in the bottom left corner, and no border around the artwork.
  • In the manga, Yugi never summoned "Ra" during a duel. In the anime, Atem summoned it during the Ceremonial Battle to give Yugi the challenge of facing all 3 Egyptian Gods at once.
  • Yami Marik used "Ra" several times, but never Tribute Summoned it and instead opted to Special Summon it from the Graveyard with "Monster Reborn" and use its ATK increasing effects (though the first time he used it was when he took control of it during his duel with Mai Valentine and it had the ATK it inherited from the 3 "Cyber Harpies" she sacrifice). Whenever it was played by someone else during the "second series anime, it was Normal Summoned. Ironically, when a copy of "Ra" was used in the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode "Rah, Rah, Ra", the man using it, Franz, Normal Summoned it despite relying on its ATK increasing effects and even using Yami Marik's version of the chant to summon it while Jaden actually resurrected it and used multiple ATK increasing effects.
    • Somewhat interestingly, no Duelist in the anime has ever won a Duel after Normal Summoning "Ra".
  • Ra's illegal version is the only original God Card that has not been reprinted in Japanese.
  • Ra is the only God Card to not have a DDM counterpart.

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