The Match winners are a series of monsters with an effect that allows the player to win the entire Match instead of just the Duel if they decrease the opponent's Life Points to 0 with a direct attack. All Match winners have a high Level/Rank, ATK, and DEF, and require 3 monsters in some way in order to Summon, some or all of which must share a Type. For example, the non-Extra Deck Match winners all cannot be Special Summoned (except "The Twin Kings, Founders of the Empire", which can only be Special Summoned by Pendulum Summon), and require 3 Tributes of the same Type as themselves in order to be Tribute Summoned.
The first Match winner, "Victory Dragon", was given away as a promotional card with "Shonen Jump Magazine". It was quickly made Forbidden due to its ability to interfere with something outside of the current Duel, leading to many ruling hassles and declarations of unsportsmanlike conduct regarding players who would surrender right before "Victory Dragon" attacked, therefore losing only the Duel instead of the Match.
All Match winners since the release of "Victory Dragon" have only been available as top prize cards or attendance cards at each year's World Championship, making them almost impossible to obtain with prices easily amounting in the thousands of dollars or more per card. All of them are illegal in official tournaments, with the Limitation Text "This card cannot be used in a Duel" present on the lower left corner of the card.
Two new Match winners debut at each World Championship, with a single Ultra Rare copy of one card being given to the champion and three Ultra Rare copies of the other being given to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers. A third Match winner is also given out as an attendance card[to who?], and is a Super Rare reprint of the previous year's top Match winner. This reprint always has the word "REPLICA" printed on it, and is generally less expensive than the original version, although the price is still astronomically high compared to most other cards.
Starting from 2013, the previous year's Match winners have received reprints in the current year's OCG-exclusive Extra Pack as Extra Secret Rare cards; for example, the 2012 Match winners, "Legendary Dragon of White" and "Legendary Magician of Dark", were reprinted in the 2013 set Extra Pack: Sword of Knights. Aside from the original "Victory Dragon", these distributions have been the only public release of any Match winner as well as the only releases in a language other than English.