Card layout

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A card's layout is standardized, and has undergone several changes since Konami's OCG/TCG card game and the anime was first introduced.



Many different typefaces have been used on Yu-Gi-Oh! cards depending on the primary script(s) of the language in question and the type of text.

Language(s) (primary script(s)) English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish
(Kanji & Kana)
Cantonese & Standard Chinese
(Traditional Chinese)
Card name base Matrix Small Caps Regular DF LeiSho Semi-Bold HY Yaeso Medium (prior to Starter Deck 2011)
Asia Yeseoche Bold
HanWang LiSu Medium
Card name ruby - Rodin Bold Sandoll Book Bold -
Attribute base DF Reisho Semi-Bold
Attribute ruby ITC Serif Bold Rodin Bold Sandoll Book Bold -
"[Spell Card]" / "[Trap Card]" text base ITC Serif Small Caps Bold DF Reisho Semi-Bold Sandoll Book Bold HanWang LiSu Semi-Bold
"[Spell Card]" / "[Trap Card]" text ruby - Rodin Medium -
"1st Edition" text ITC Serif Bold - ITC Serif Bold -
"LIMITED EDITION" text ITC Serif Semi-Bold
"DUEL TERMINAL" text Gothic Bold -
"REPLICA" text ITC Serif Semi-Bold ITC Serif Bold -
Card Number ITC Serif Regular Gothic Regular (series 2)
ITC Serif Semi-Bold (series 3 and later)
ITC Serif Regular ITC Serif Semi-Bold
Type & Ability base ITC Serif Small Caps Bold DF Reisho Semi-Bold Sandoll Book Bold HanWang LiSu Semi-Bold
Type & Ability ruby - Rodin Medium -
Lore base ITC Serif Italic (flavor text)
Matrix Regular (effect text, and flavor text of the illegal Egyptian God cards)
DF Reisho Semi-Bold Sandoll Book Light HanWang LiSu Semi-Bold
Lore ruby - Rodin Medium -
ATK/DEF Matrix Small Caps Regular DF Reisho Semi-Bold (series 2 and earlier)
Matrix Small Caps Bold (series 3 and later)
Matrix Small Caps Regular Matrix Small Caps Bold
Pendulum Scale value - Matrix Small Caps Bold -
Passcode ITC Serif Regular
Limitation Text ITC Serif Semi-Bold Rodin Medium Sandoll Gothic Light -
"Replica" text - ITC Serif Semi-Bold -
Copyright ITC Serif Regular Rodin Medium ITC Serif Regular Rodin Medium


Series 1 layout

This was the first version of layout for cards, lasting from the initial release of the Official Card Game with Vol.1 to the end of Series 1 with the release of Dark Ceremony Edition. This layout was used in early episode of the second series of Yu-Gi-Oh!

Cards with this version of the layout are characterized by a larger card image and, for Monster Cards, two half-width boxes below the picture, side-by-side, with the left one for the monster's card effect or lore, and the right one for its ATK and DEF, which use the terms こうげきりょく (kōgekiryoku "Attack Strength") and しゅりょく (shubiryoku "Defense Strength") (On the English versions of "Dark Magician" and "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", "攻撃力" and "守備力" were replaced by "Attack" and "Defense", respectively; on their Chinese versions, "守備力" was replaced by "防守力"). The card name box, image, and effect/ATK/DEF area are all equal width. Level 11 and 12 monsters have their Level Stars aligned to the center instead of the right like lower Level monsters, and the stars are put closer to one another. Non-Normal Spell and Trap Cards do not have property symbols; only Field Spell Cards have their property indicated, with the word フィールド (Fīrudo "Field"). The Japanese font used for most texts on the cards was the original DFLeisho font, though it's the DFKakuTaihi font to be used for the ATK and DEF digits.

Series 1 cards lack Card Numbers and the Eye of Anubis Hologram.

Series 2 layout

The next version of card layout was used for the duration of Series 2, being introduced with the release of Magic Ruler and lasting until Pharaonic Guardian and Structure Deck: Pegasus (which were released on the same day).

The difference between this version and the first one is the widening of the effect/lore box on Monster Cards to about two-thirds of the card's width, featuring a new look of the box border, and a corresponding narrowing of the ATK/DEF box, achieved mainly by shortening the terms for "ATK" and "DEF" to just こう ( "Attack") and しゅ (Shu "Defense") or 防 for the Chinese "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", and to "ATK" and "DEF" for the English "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", and a slight widening of the card name box and effect/ATK/DEF area. Only Level 12 monsters have their Level Stars aligned to the center. All non-Normal Spell and Trap Cards, instead of just Field Spell Cards, indicate their property with symbols, though some Equip Spell Cards use the word モンスター (monsutā "Monster") for their property. Additionally, from this series onwards, the frame of the lore box is narrowed, making more room for the lore.

This version introduces Card Numbers and the Eye of Anubis Hologram.

Series 3 layout

The third, and by far longest-lived, version of card layout was introduced with Series 3, beginning with Limited Edition 4, and is the card layout that the TCG was introduced with. It has been called the World Unified Format (世界統一フォーマット Sekai Tōitsu Fōmatto).

This version is marked by a shorter, square card image and a unified, taller box for the card effect/lore and ATK/DEF. OCG cards feature the English text "ATK" and "DEF", and three-character set prefixes (with the uses of one of the Matrix fonts) and three-digit set position numbers are introduced (with the uses of one of the ITC Stone fonts). Level 12 monsters have their Level Stars aligned to the right and put closer together unlike lower Level monsters. In early sets of this series, Spell Cards (ほうカード Mahō Kādo) were called Magic Cards (魔法マジックカード Majikku Kādo), and gained a "MAGIC" symbol (マジック) instead of "SPELL" (). As later sets were released, the DFLeisho font used for Japanese cards' texts has its Latin letters and digits featured in the card name originated in the DFKakuTaihi font. Additionally, one-letter region identifiers were used only for the Card Numbers on non-North American English and non-Japanese cards.

Interestingly, this layout was released internationally before the end of series 2 in Japan: while the final series 2 sets were released on March 21, 2002, the first series 3 set was released on March 8, and the private release Summoned Skull Sample promotional card was distributed in December 2001.

Series 4 layout

This layout, introduced with Series 4, was a small update to the Series 3 layout which added two-letter region identifiers for all Card Numbers; previously, they had frequently been omitted for North American English and Japanese cards.

Series 5 layout

Introduced with Series 5 with the release of Power of the Duelist, this layout introduced four-character set prefixes for Card Numbers to allow for Structure Deck: Machine Re-Volt, which had the set prefix "SD10". Like the Series 4 layout, this layout was otherwise identical to the Series 3 layout; Level 12 monsters have their Level Stars aligned to the center.

Series 6 layout

This layout was introduced with Series 6, and featured the furigana on the names of Monster Cards being unified to black to accommodate the accompanying introduction of Synchro Monsters; prior to this, some monster furigana was printed in white.

Series 7 layout

Introduced with Series 7 with the release of Starter Deck 2010, a few more small changes were made. These included lightening the background of the effect box to make the text easier to read, and making the effect box taller and wider to allow for cards with longer effects. The card image and name box were shifted slightly upward to allow for the larger effect box, and the name box was widened to maintain roughly equal margins on its sides and top. The font used for Korean cards' names was changed since Starter Deck 2011. This layout is used in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL.

Series 8 layout

Introduced with Series 8 with the release of Starter Deck 2012, other small changes were made. These include larger artwork and Level/Rank stars on Monster Cards, with very little extra space around the stars and attribute icon. On cards with a short effect or flavor text, the text is printed in a larger font size, making it easier to read. Some of the TCG versions of Monster Tokens have the bar over the ATK and DEF signs added, while OCG tokens have been changed to look much more like regular Monster Cards, with the Token's name, Attribute icon, Level stars, ATK and DEF, and extra detail in the lore; some Tokens of the characters from Yu-Gi-Oh! media include some of their theme lines in the card text box, while others also have the V Jump logo as a watermark featured on the background of the box. The kanji in the attribute icons of Japanese Spell and Trap Cards are slightly repositioned to be more centered; the icons on TCG cards are unchanged.

Series 9 layout

This layout was introduced with Series 9 with Starter Deck 2014. It added Pendulum Monsters, which feature an artwork box that has been widened to line up with the card description box; the background of the Pendulum Effect and Pendulum Scale boxes are slightly transparent and the main lore box is even more slightly transparent from top to bottom, allowing the overlapped portion of the artwork to be seen, which makes Pendulum Monsters' artworks be almost fully shown unlike any other card type before. Some cards with long Pendulum Effect text have increased height for the text box. The artwork, Pendulum Scale, Pendulum Effect and main lore boxes are put in gray frames instead of the traditional orange frames. The Card Number is placed on the right-bottom of the main lore box.

For all cards, the main lore box has been slightly widened, while the card name box has become shorter and wider; this leads to the reduced size of the card's name and Attribute symbol, and allows more room for Level/Rank stars on Monster Cards as well as Spell/Trap property indicators. Additionally, the aforementioned stars and text/indicators have been made smaller; these changes slightly increase the padding in that area of the card, compared to the Series 8 layout which drastically reduced it. Also, the edition text (eg. "1st Edition") is placed right next to the passcode. If the monster's main lore gets too long, the font size of the Type/Ability text is reduced to provide more space.

Several changes are also made in the Japanese and Korean terminology and card grammar: for the first time, Flip (リバース) is treated as an Ability similar to Tuner, Union, Gemini, etc. and is listed next to the monster's Type in the card description; the word 効果 (Effect) is now always written on the Type/Ability line for monsters with Abilities that have effects, being omitted in the past; these changes are also applied to TCG cards, although the word "FLIP" is still kept in the card text; as for TCG Flip Effect Monsters that have an effect other than its Flip Effect, that effect is written in another paragraph. The middle dot (・) is no longer used on the type line on Japanese prints. Some terms like "Life Points", "Synchro", "Xyz" and "Pendulum" are abbreviated in the card text as "LP", "S", "X", and "P" respectively with appropriate furigana so as to take up less space; so far, only the term "Life Points" is known to be abbreviated in TCG and Korean card text.

Japanese and Korean card text now follows a new pattern similar to the TCG Problem-Solving Card Text: Marking circled number:Timing/Targeting (if any), Costs (if any). Resolution. Each effect is written in at least one sentence and marked with a circled number (①, ②, etc.); thus any text written before the number 1 (①) is not an effect and cannot be negated by the effects of cards such as "Skill Drain". The effect's timing, targeting, and costs follow the effect number and colon in one sentence; timing and targeting are separated from costs by a comma, which is dropped if an effect has no cost. The effect's action and resolution follow in a separate sentence(s).[1] Also, new text patterns used for mentioning the support for an archetype, such as 「~」カード ("~" card) or 「~」モンスター ("~" monster), begin to be used instead of the old ones such as 「~」と名のついたカード (card with "~" in its name) or 「~」と名のついたモンスター (monster with "~" in its name).[2]

Traditional Chinese cards from Series 9 used the Series 8 card frames. Starting with the release of Structure Deck: Machiners Command, the Series 9 card frames are used instead.

The Series 9 format is used in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.

Anniversary layout

In celebration of Yu-Gi-Oh!'s fifteenth anniversary, several cards were released with a modified layout: the OCG Anniversary Pack, the Weekly Shōnen Jump promo versions of "Dark Magician" and "Magi Magi ☆ Magician Gal", the V Jump promo versions of "Obelisk the Tormentor", "The Winged Dragon of Ra", and "Slifer the Sky Dragon", and the Duel Art Campaign Promo Card "The Creator God of Light, Horakhty". The Anniversary Pack was later released in the TCG (with the exception of "Dark Magician Girl") and the other cards as Shonen Jump promotional cards (with the exception of "The Creator God of Light, Horakhty" and "Magi Magi ☆ Magician Gal").

The biggest differences between the main layouts and the anniversary layouts are the distinctive lack of a border around the card image, which instead only has a drop shadow to distinguish it from the card's background, and Kazuki Takahashi's signature, which is usually included in the lower right-hand corner of each card's artwork. The artwork is a special variant drawn by Takahashi himself in celebration of the anniversaries. "Magi Magi ☆ Magician Gal" and the legal Egyptian God cards have no passcode in the lower left-hand corner. Finally, the English prints of Normal Monsters using this layout (except for "Dark Magician") uniquely have a different text style than other Normal Monsters, using the Matrix font in regular type in the case of the Anniversary Pack, and in italic type in the case of the Shonen Jump "Blue-Eyes White Dragon".


In the dubbed versions of the anime, card layouts are changed due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.[citation needed] Monster Cards are edited to include only the artwork, Level/Rank and Attribute symbols and ATK/DEF values, removing any text that was visible in the original version. Similarly, Spell/Trap Cards are edited to remove virtually everything, leaving only the artwork and a Spell/Trap symbol in an empty text box. Some furigana letters still remain in Attribute symbols and the Spell symbol.


Early episodes of the original Japanese anime used the real-life series 1 and 2 layout with no furigana in the lore box. In Season 4, the real-life series 3 layout was used instead.

Early episodes of the English-dubbed anime placed the Level of Monster at the center of the space betwen the left side of the card and the Attribute symbol. In later episodes, the Level is really centered, with exception to monsters that debuted in early episodes. Monsters with a Level higher than 10 do not have their Level centered, due to space constraints. Some monsters ATK/DEF values are right aligned.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light

The Japanese movie follows the real-life series 3 layout (but unlike the regular anime series, furigana is included on all texts), and so does the English-dubbed version. No card number or passcode is included.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX follows the same layout design as the later episodes of the second series anime. Some cards from the Japanese anime include furigana on their lores, while others don't.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's follows the same layout design as the previous series anime. Only a few cards from the Japanese anime include furigana in the card lore box.


The Japanese anime uses the real-life series 7 layout with no furigana in the card lore box. In the English-dubbed anime, the Rank of an Xyz Monster is not centered and is instead left aligned. All other cards have followed the layout of the previous series.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V

The Japanese anime follows the real-life series 9 layout with no furigana in the card lore boxes, except on abbreviated Latin letters (such as "P" for "Pendulum"). In the English-dubbed anime, the scales of all Pendulum Monsters are at the bottom corners of the image, the colors between the one associated with the type of Monster (Normal is Yellow, Effect is Orange, Ritual is Blue, etc) and the Spell color (green in this case) are at the middle of the stats of the card, and the card's image at the bottom (where the Pendulum effect box covers it in the real cards) is drawn. All other cards have followed the layout of the previous series.


In the Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL mangas, the layout is fairly different from the anime and TCG/OCG ones. The texts aren't separated by lines and rectangles, and the Types and Attributes are not shown.

  • The monster cards' layouts consist of the card's name, its Level (with the stars not being pictured inside a sphere), a double-border square with the artwork, a lore and the ATK/DEF (aligned horizontally).
  • The Spell/Trap Cards consist of the card's name, type (it only is shown if the card is either a Spell or Trap card, and seldom specifies its Type; also, it is centered, but sometimes aligned to the right), a double-border square with the artwork and a lore.
  • There are a few other types of card such as Illusion Cards, Virus Cards, etc.

In the Yu-Gi-Oh! D Team ZEXAL manga, the card images are taken directly from the OCG.

Other card games

Bandai's Official Card Game

Unlike the Konami's cards, the ones from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Bandai's Official Card Game are not coded with colors: every type of card shares a fair orange-yellow background. On the top of a card is the card name box, artistic, fair orange with red typesetting on Character Cards and black with white typesetting on other card types. Under the card name box is the text for monster type (if the card is a Monster Card) and some flavor text. Then there lies the artwork box, which has the upper side be beneath the Level stars. Note that the Level stars and flavor text are the unique features to Character and Monster Cards. As for Character and Monster Cards, on the left bottom is the rule box, and on the right bottom is the ability box for Character Cards and the ATK/DEF boxes for Monster Cards. As for Spell and Trap Cards, only the card property and effect text are written on the bottom. There is also a digit code next to the right side (or sometimes the left side) of the artwork box. Additionally, instead of having a black card border like other card types, Character Cards have a yellow one.

Duel Monsters

Like Bandai's cards, Konami's Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters cards are not coded with color, either. Every card is printed on a dark-glowing background bounded by a black border. From top to bottom, lie the name text, the Level stars (as for Monster Cards) or the Spell/Trap property text (as for Spell/Trap Cards), the artwrok box, the ATK/DEF (as for Monster Cards) or effect text (as for Spell/Trap Cards) on the right bottom , and the copyright text on the left. The Level Stars have various colors; the higher the Level is, the more various the colors get; the first star (counting from left to right) is always red, then the colors range from red to purple, depending on how high the Level is. The Kanji letter 罠 is pronounced "Wana" instead of "Torappu" as of the OCG.

Dungeon Dice Monsters

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dungeon Dice Monsters cards are designed totally differently in English versus in Japanese.

English cards are not color-coded. Every card is printed on a soil-like yellow-brown background and border. Each one consists of three boxes. On the top of the card is the name box, where the card name is aligned to the center; the typesetting size may be reduced if the name is too long. The second which is placed under the name box is the artwork box, where the image of the monster is placed on a dark background, which features a grid put in perspective. On the bottom lies the third box, contains other features of the card, including the Level and the Type (except for the "Monster Lord"), the special abilities (if any), the movement (if any), the Hit Points (if any), the ATK and DEF (if any). Underneath the latter box are the Card Number and the copyright text.

Japanese cards are color-coded depending on their Types. Each of them has a black border, and consists of three boxes as well as other feature texts. The top box is for the card name, the centered one is for the artwork which contains the monster's image on a gridded black background, and the bottom one is for the special abilities (if any). Other texts include the Type and the Level above the name box, the movement and the HP/ATK/DEF between the name and the artwork boxes, the copyright text below the box of special abilities.

Video games

See also


  1. "Master Rule 3: Overview". Konami.
  2. "Master Ruler 3 Official Rulebook version 1.0, page 73/78 (double-page 37/39) (Japanese)". Konami.