From left to right: "Slifer", "Ra" and "Obelisk"
The Egyptian God Cards, also known in Japanese as the Three Phantom Gods (
Several other cards, such as "Embodiment of Apophis", "Mystical Beast of Serket", "Ma'at", the "Horus the Black Flame Dragon" archetype, "Sebek's Blessing", "Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys", the "Hieratic" archetype, and the "New Order" archetype, are named after real Egyptian deities, but are not a part of the Egyptian God series.
The "Egyptian Gods" are one-of-a-kind all-powerful cards created by Maximillion Pegasus, who modeled them after three Ancient Egypt divine beasts whose likenesses surround the Millennium Puzzle on the stone tablet said to hold the memories of the nameless Pharaoh. When Pegasus decided to make them into cards, everyone involved in the project was attacked by the spirits of the "Egyptian God" monsters, so Pegasus decided to create the cards on his own, under the protection of his Millennium Eye. When Pegasus finished the art-work on the prototypes, he had a nightmare about the Egyptian Gods attacking him. Shadi told Pegasus that he had angered the "Egyptian gods". Pegasus woke up injured after this "nightmare," so he decided that these cards were too powerful to be mass-produced, and had Ishizu Ishtar bury the prototypes in the Pharaoh's tomb. The wielder of these great cards is able to acquire the title of "Duel King," but in the wrong hands, they are capable of causing legitimate injury or even death. Using counterfeits of the "God" cards also proved to be deadly (as Marik Ishtar found out when his Rare Hunters were testing counterfeited, made copies of "The Winged Dragon of Ra", some ended up being crippled, some lost their minds, and some even died the moment the card was played, and Marik came to the (later proven incorrect) conclusion that the "Gods" respond to the strength of heart of the Duelists, of which none of the members of the experimental group have).
- "Slifer the Sky Dragon" (「オシリスの
天 空 竜」 Oshirisu no Tenkūryū - Sky Dragon of Osiris)
- "Obelisk the Tormentor" (「オベリスクの
巨 神 兵」 Oberisuku no Kyoshinhei - Giant God-Soldier of Obelisk)
- "The Winged Dragon of Ra" (「ラーの
翼 神 竜」 Rā no Yokushinryū - Winged God-Dragon of Ra)
Marik was able to acquire "The Winged Dragon of Ra" and "Slifer the Sky Dragon", but Ishizu was able to protect "Obelisk the Tormentor". She gave the card to Seto Kaiba, and with a request, he hosted a Dueling tournament to lure Marik and his Rare Hunters to the city, bringing the other "God" cards with them. Kaiba, intent on claiming the cards for himself to secure his title as the strongest Duelist, agreed and hosted the Battle City tournament. During the tournament Marik revealed to Yami Yugi the "God" cards and that the Millennium Puzzle along with the "God" cards are needed to unlock his lost memories. Marik used "Slifer the Sky Dragon" against Yami Yugi through Strings, but Yami Yugi was able to defeat "Slifer" and took it for himself in accordance with Battle City's ante rules.
During the tournament quarterfinals, Yami Yugi used "Slifer" to defeat Yami Bakura. Marik had placed a copy of "The Winged Dragon of Ra" in Odion's Deck without his knowledge, telling him that usage of the card against Joey Wheeler was needed to prove to those watching, that Odion was Marik, as Marik was keeping his identity a secret. After Odion was struck down by "Ra's" rage for using a counterfeit of its card, which was when Marik's conclusion was proven incorrect since Odion has a strong heart, Marik was taken over by Yami Marik, who Dueled Mai Valentine in the next round. Mai successfully took "The Winged Dragon of Ra" from Yami Marik's Deck with "Amazon Chain Master" and Summoned it, but was unable to read the hieratic text on the card one needed to recite to control it. On his next turn Yami Marik did so himself and took back control of "Ra" to win the Duel. In the final round of the quarter-finals, Kaiba faced Ishizu who had entered the tournament to witness the battle between the "Gods" for herself. Using her Millennium Necklace to foresee Kaiba's moves, Ishizu allowed him to summon "Obelisk" with the intent to destroy it "Blast Held With a Tribute", but a vision from Yami Marik's Millennium Rod convinced Kaiba to win using his "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", thwarting Ishizu's strategy. In an unofficial fifth Duel later that night, Yami Bakura and Yami Marik Duel, and Bakura seized "The Winged Dragon of Ra" with a combination of "Dark Designator" and "Exchange", and with the help of the spirit of the original Marik was able to summon and control Ra. However, Yami Marik sapped "Ra's" ATK to 0 with "Joyful Doom" and when Bakura abandoned "Ra" later in the Duel, Yami Marik revived it with "Monster Reborn" and revealed its secret abilities (Instant Attack and Point-to-Point Transfer) to win the Duel.
The Egyptian God Cards did not appear during the Virtual World arc, since the Big 5 had the cards forbidden from their database that was used to choose a player's Deck.
In the semi-finals Marik and Joey Dueled, and Yami Marik unveiled "Ra's" Phoenix Mode, burning Joey and wounding him so badly he fell unconscious and was unable to finish the Duel. In the next Duel, Kaiba and Yami Yugi faced each other and eventually both got their "God" cards on the field. After several turns of the two weakening and powering up the two cards, they equaled at 4000 ATK and destroyed each other, the clash triggering a vision of the Duel between Priest Seto and Pharaoh Atem in Ancient Egypt. Yami Yugi was eventually able to win the Duel with "Dark Paladin", claiming "Obelisk". In the final Duel against Yami Marik, Yami Yugi used both "God" cards to battle him, but it was revealed "Ra" is stronger than both the other "God" cards and both were destroyed. Nonetheless Yami Yugi eventually won by using "Ragnarok". In the manga, Yugi used "Dimension Magic" to have 2 Magicians on the field, then the second effect of "Dimension Magic" makes Yugi combine the attacks of his 2 Magicians and destroy "Ra" in battle. Yugi won "Ra" after the Duel.
In the Waking the Dragons season, Yami Yugi attempts to use the "God" cards to unlock the Tablet of Lost Memories, but it is iced over by the power of Dartz, preventing him from regaining his memories. The "God" cards are later stolen when Solomon Muto is caring for them by Dartz's underlings. "Obelisk" was briefly used by Gurimo against Yami Yugi and though it was successfully controlled by "The Seal of Orichalcos" the combination caused Gurimo to suffer discomfort. After Gurimo's defeat, the God cards were taken to Dartz's temple, where they were drained of their energy to fuel the Great Leviathan They are retrieved at the end of the season and empowered with the light of Dartz's captives to battle the Great Leviathan in physical form.
In the Memory World arc, Yami Yugi uses the "God" cards to enter the world of the Pharaoh's memory. Here, acting as Atem in what is actually an RPG-type Shadow Game orchestrated by Yami Bakura, Yami Yugi battles Thief King Bakura and his Diabound with the "God" monsters one by one. Upon learning his name, Yami Yugi/Atem uses it to merge the "Gods" into "The Creator God of Light, Horakhty", destroying Zorc Necrophades and winning the Shadow RPG. Afterwards Yami Yugi used the "God" cards again against Yugi Muto in The Ceremonial Battle, Yugi destroying the cards by turning "Slifer's" effect against the "God" cards with "Magnet Force" (in the manga, Atem only Summoned Obelisk, but was weakened, and Yugi's monster was strengthened, making both their ATK 2500, then, when Obelisk attacked, they were both destroyed). In the Duel's final move, Yami Yugi attempts to revive "Slifer" with "Monster Reborn", but Yugi foresaw this and seals the card with "Gold Sarcophagus", allowing him to win the Duel. The three "God" cards were then lost forever when the tomb collapsed, burying the seven Millennium Items along with the cards when Atem left for the afterlife.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! R, the "Wicked Gods" are introduced, used by Pegasus's protégé Yako Tenma; Yako claimed them to be the twins of the three "Egyptian God" cards, and Pegasus himself was too afraid to produce them, but Yako completed them based on Pegasus's designs. The "Egyptian Gods" themselves made only brief appearances in the series, with "Slifer" being destroyed by "The Wicked Avatar" in Dark Yugi's first Duel with Yako and later being used to offhandedly dispatch Cedar Mill;" "Ra" being briefly Summoned in the second Duel with Yako to destroy "The Wicked Dreadroot," though ultimately, Yako negated the Summon; and "Obelisk" to clash with "Avatar" in the final Duel with Yako, matching its ATK and destroying them both after being made equal on the Divine Hierachy as "Obelisk The Progenitor."
In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, the three "Gods" combine to form a monster with infinite strength. This allowed Yugi to destroy Anubis' "Theinen the Great Sphinx" with an ultimate attack, "Titan Firestorm," and win the Duel. In the Japanese version of the second series anime, this is the equivalent of "Obelisk's" "Soul Energy Max" ability, which, as alluded to by Seto Kaiba, was a "miracle of God's anger."
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the dorms of Duel Academy are named for the "God" cards - Slifer Red, Ra Yellow and Obelisk Blue. The series also introduces the Sacred Beasts, evil and twisted versions of the "God" cards.
Pegasus confirms the "God" cards are gone. Presumably when Yami Yugi departed to the afterlife after his Duel with Yugi, he took the "God" cards with him. A copy of "The Winged Dragon of Ra" that Industrial Illusions created for testing purposes is stolen by a disgruntled card designer named Franz, who later Duels Jaden Yuki. The abilities of the card as far as immunity goes is not fully disclosed. There is a trend in GX for monsters of significant importance, to simply receive blanket immunity from all Spell, Trap and Monster Effects (e.g. "Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord"). This version of "Ra" was also able to activate its Point-to-Point Transfer and Egyptian God Phoenix abilities if it has been Tribute Summoned. Jaden is able to defeat Franz and the copy of "Ra" is returned to Pegasus. In the final episode when Jaden Duels Yugi, "Slifer" is summoned.
All three "Egyptian God" Cards (in the anime and manga) share these similar effects:
- Only chosen Duelists linked to the ancient past may control a "God" card, though "Obelisk the Tormentor" was successfully used by a Duelist using "The Seal of Orichalcos", albeit not without discomfort.
- Each card requires a Tribute of 3 monsters in order to be Normal Summoned/Set from your hand to the field.
- Their Battle Position can be changed on the turn they were Normal Summoned.
- If they are Special Summoned from the Graveyard or Banished area, they are returned to the Graveyard or Banished area at the end of the turn.
- If they are Special Summoned in Defense Position when your opponent has attacked with a monster, you may switch the attack target to them.
- They cannot be Tributed by your opponent.
- Control of the cards cannot change.
- The opponent cannot equip cards to the "God" Cards.
- They cannot be returned to their controller's hand.
- They cannot be destroyed by card effects of non-"God" Cards. However, it seems they can be removed from play (as Yugi removed from play "The Winged Dragon of Ra" with "Ragnarok").
- Card effects that negate their effects last for as long as the card is face-up on the field.
- All other card effects used on them only affect them for the remainder of the turn they were activated.
In episode 94 of Yu-Gi-Oh! "Ishizu" attempted to destroy "Obelisk" with the effect of "Sacrifice's Blast" (a.k.a. "Blast Held by a Tribute"). This would have worked because "Obelisk's" effects would have been negated.
In the original manga, the three "Egyptian Gods" possess a hierarchy among themselves. This is explained as a pyramid, with "Ra" being at the top, and "Slifer" and "Obelisk" at the base (as equals). Because of this, the effects of "Slifer" and "Obelisk the Tormentor" do not work on "Ra". The effects of "Obelisk" and "Slifer" will work on each other, for one turn.
Their effects are much more clearly defined in the original manga.
- They require three Tributes due to being Level 10 monsters (under the Duelist Kingdom rules, Kaiba was shown Summoning "Obelisk" without any Tributes, just like any other monster).
- Their attacks do not trigger the activation conditions of a Trap Card that needs to be activated in response to an attack. ("Magic Cylinder" was a Spell Card in the manga, which was how it was able to respond to the attack of "Slifer".)
- They are unaffected by most effects that would directly remove them from the side of the field of their controller, except for the abilities of a God with the same Hierarchy and the effect of "Dimension Magic" (since the monster destroyed by "Dimension Magic" counts as being destroyed by battle rather than by a card effect).
- Any other card effects only affect them for one turn (which is why they return to the Graveyard after one turn if they were Special Summoned from there).
The effects of "Obelisk" and "Slifer" are treated as both effects and attacks in the manga and anime.
- In the manga, both of their effects fail to destroy "The Sun Dragon Ra" due to Hierarchy, meaning that they count as effects.
- In the anime, "Magnet Force" was able to redirect "Slifer's" effect, indicating that it is an effect. Furthermore, Summoning "Kuriboh" while "Nightmare's Steelcage" was active did not trigger "Slifer's" effect, indicating that it is an attack; however, the effect of "Big Shield Gardna" didn't activate when affected by "Slifer's" effect, indicating that it is not an attack.
It is sometimes said that in addition to their Divine-Beast Type, "Obelisk" is a Warrior, "Slifer" is a Dragon, and "Ra" is a Machine. The three are classified as these Types in various video games such as Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards and Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction. In the anime and manga, Yugi's "Buster Blader" is said to gain 500 ATK due to "Slifer" being a Dragon-type, and "Obelisk" is used by Gurimo, a Duelist who uses a Warrior Deck.
In the Basic Game Play FAQ on the Former Official UDE Web Site there was a question that asked "What do the Egyptian god cards do?" and it was answered with "Nothing. They're not legitimate Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game cards. They have no effects and can't be used in your Deck."
"Obelisk's" known special ability is:
- During either player's turn while it is in Attack Position, the player can Tribute two other monsters they control to activate one of these effects:
- Increase its ATK to ∞ as well as attack any number of monsters the player chooses, regardless of whose turn it is. After it has attacked, the ATK of "Obelisk" returns to its original value.
- The anime and other media had another option, which was destroying all the opponent's monsters allowing "Obelisk" to attack directly instead of gaining ATK (this was apparently the explanation used when Kaiba activated the effect against Yami Yugi).
"Slifer's" known special abilities are:
- The ATK and DEF is the number of cards held by the Duelist x 1000.
- When an opponent Summons a monster, it attacks that monster immediately, reducing that monster's ATK or DEF by 2000, depending on if it is in Attack or Defense Position. If that monster's ATK or DEF is 2000 was reduced to 0 as a result, it is destroyed.
"Ra's" known special abilities are:
- The ATK and DEF are equal to the combined respective ATK and DEF of all monsters Tributed to summon it.
- When Special Summoned, this card is immune to any card effects and conditions that would prevent it from attacking.
- The Duelist can Special Summon "Ra" as "Egyptian God Phoenix" where its attack cannot be negated, it cannot be destroyed by battle, you take 0 Battle Damage from battles involving it, and it is immune to all card effects.
- When "Egyptian God Phoenix" battles with a monster, the Duelist can pay 1000 Life Points to destroy that monster at the start of the Damage Step.
- When Special Summoned, the Duelist's option other than "Egyptian God Phoenix" mode is that the Duelist can pay all but 1 of their Life Points to increase the ATK & DEF of "Ra" by the same amount of Life Points payed. The Duelist can then choose to Tribute any other monsters they control to add their ATK & DEF to "Ra's" ATK & DEF.Also, it can attack all monsters the opponent controls , as well as attack directly afterwards. Under these circumstances, "Ra" is treated as a Fusion Monster, and if targeted by "De-Fusion" its ATK drops to 0 while the Duelist's Life Points increase by an amount equal to what "Ra's" ATK had been, then if "Ra" attacked, its attack is negated.
The names of the "Egyptian God" Cards are derived from the names of items in Egyptian mythology:
- "Slifer the Sky Dragon" - Original name derived from the name of Osiris, the Egyptian God of Life, Death, and Fertility. The English name is an inside joke, derived from the name of Roger Slifer, a producer of the English-language adaptation to the anime.
- "Obelisk the Tormentor" - Derived from the term "obelisk," a type of monument.
- "The Winged Dragon of Ra" - Derived from the name of Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun. In the Filipino anime, Ra's name is changed to "Apollo", the Greek equivalent of Ra.
In the English manga, they are all often simply referred to as "God," though their original names are still used.
The names of the "Egyptian Gods" are the basis for the names of the dormitories of Duel Academy in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX; Slifer Red, Ra Yellow and Obelisk Blue. This also reflects how Seto Kaiba viewed the three "Egyptian god" cards; "Slifer" was owned by Yugi Muto, his arch-rival, so it was only natural that he holds the card in such contempt. "The Winged Dragon of Ra" is in the middle, since it was owned by Marik Ishtar, until Yugi won it from him in Battle City; Seto Kaiba was thus neutral to this card. Of course, with Obelisk Blue, it was plainly obvious why he based this dorm off of "Obelisk The Tormentor"; it was the first and only "Egyptian God" card he received, and indeed seen the power it holds, until Yugi won it from him in the Battle City Finals.
The original prints of the Egyptian God Cards cannot be used in official tournaments due to their limitation text stating as such. They would otherwise also be illegal due to their backings, which would make them count as marked cards.
In Japan, they were released as a pre-order bonus for the Japanese Game Boy Color game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelist, which released on December 7, 2000. They were reprinting as pack-in cards for the Game Boy Advance game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters International — Worldwide Edition (the Japanese version of the English-language Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel), which was released in Japan on April 17, 2003.
"The Winged Dragon of Ra" was also included as a pack-in card with the Xbox game Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dawn of Destiny, released in Japan on March 23, 2004; "Slifer the Sky Dragon" was also released as a pack-in card with the ani-manga of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, published by Viz Media on November 23, 2004; "Obelisk the Tormentor" was also released as a Shonen Jump magazine subscriber promotional card in May 2005.
The illegal prints of the Egyptian God cards once demanded high prices on the secondary market. This was prior to their current widespread availability. During this time, countless counterfeit copies were made and distributed primarily throughout East Asia.
They were originally released as promotional cards just for collectors, but players attempts to use the cards in Duels. In an FAQ, Konami stated that these cards could not be used in tournament play. After this statement, official tournaments stopped allowing these cards. According to Shonen Jump, they are Normal Monsters.
All three of the Egyptian God cards have received legal prints as Effect Monsters. The legal "Obelisk" and "Slifer" possess effects virtually identical to their video game effects, while the legal version of "Ra" has its effects severely weakened (it cannot be Special Summoned, does not gain ATK equal to the total ATK of the monsters Tributed for its Tribute Summon, and its Point-to-Point Transfer effect has the player pay LP until they have 100 remaining rather than 1).
The only immunity of "Obelisk" was that it cannot be targeted by card effects, whereas the two other "God" Cards can be destroyed by anything.
Introduced in Duelist Pack: Battle City, "The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode" circumvents some of the weaknesses that Ra has. "Sphere Mode" can be Normal Summoned by Tributing 3 monsters from either player's side of the field (being Summoned to the same side of the field as the Tributes), but will return to its owner's control at the end of the next turn. "Sphere Mode" cannot be attacked nor targeted by card effects. It can also be Tributed to Special Summon "Ra" from the hand or Deck and giving it 4000 ATK and DEF, thereby eliminating its main weaknesses (having no ATK or DEF points without paying excessive LP). "Sphere Mode" is also a DIVINE Divine-Beast-Type monster.
"Egyptian God" Deck
With the release of "Obelisk the Tormentor", "Slifer the Sky Dragon" and "The Winged Dragon of Ra" in tournament legal form, it is now possible to create a Deck which revolves around the use of the Divine-Beast-Type. It's usually suggested that you focus on a single kind of "Egyptian God" in your Deck since it'll make your strategy more reliable, and the chances of Summoning more than one of them are practically zero.
(The only exception to this advice would be the case in which you want to create an instant win Deck with "Horakhty", case in which you'd need all of them on the field.)
These cards require 3 Tributes to Normal Summon but prevent effects from being activated on their Summon and "Obelisk" cannot be targeted--thus the strategy of the Deck focuses on stalling and swarming until 3 Tributes are available.
Even though the "Egyptian Gods" are powerful, they can be stopped by many cards. Just using something that doesn't target (like Hammer Shot) can easily destroy "Obelisk" (being the only one who is immune to targeting card effects). Cards such as "Mask of Restrict" or "Ojama Trio" can make it impossible to Summon them, with the former preventing Tributes and the latter may limit the amount of tributable monsters to 2. Last but not least, cards that make them lose their effect (like "Destiny HERO - Plasma") can be devastating (although "Obelisk" retains his 4000 ATK, as would "Ra" that has been Special Summoned by the effect of "The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode").
See Frog Monarch
In Tag Force 2, they can be obtained only if the player has the original Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force UMD Disc.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 3, they can be obtained only if the player has Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 1 and 2.
In Spirit Caller, the game must be connected with Nightmare Troubadour in order to obtain them. Since it is possible to "trade" between Nightmare Troubadour, Spirit Caller and Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2007 by buying cards from Nightmare Troubadour, it is possible to have the "Egyptian God" cards in any of these games. Additionally, in Spirit Caller, the player can see the "Egyptian God" Cards by unlocking Yami Yugi.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2009: Stardust Accelerator, "Obelisk" is an Effect Monster, but "Slifer" and "Ra" are their own individual Monster Card types, unseen in the game's navigational menus. They are all Level 10, DIVINE Attribute, Divine-Beast-Type, and cannot be targeted by cards or effects. The Summon of an "Egyptian God" card cannot be negated, and cards cannot be activated in response to their Summon. Each "Egyptian God" card requires three Tributes to be Normal Summoned, and cannot be Set. If Special Summoned, they are destroyed during the End Phase.
In the original manga and the Japanese anime, the card text of the Egyptian Gods (except the Hieratic Text of "The Winged Dragon of Ra") is written in English, likely due to the one-of-a-kind cards being created by an American.